MADE IT. Yes, dear reader I realise this 2014 review of the year has taken a while and it’s nearly 2015 but I’ve been busy doing stuff like moving house and stuffing my face with chocolate truffles; I knew, also, that my 2014 review of the year was going to take a loooong time to put together because basically, my feet haven’t touched the ground all year. I don’t just mean in the travel sense (although that was a heewge part of it, of course) but also (here comes the slightly hippy bit) in the metaphorical sense, because the experiences I’ve had this year have been mind-blowing and life-changing. I thought 2013 was a rollercoaster, but my goodness, 2014 was a WHIRLWIND. So, ta-da! Here it is. My big fat 2014 review of the year.
And it started off in January with me spending four days on a ship sailing along the Norwegian coast in search of the Northern Lights; not only did we find them (nine times, no less) but we also met some adorable huskies and I actually managed to finish reading a book for the first time in eons.
I was also privileged to be among a group of bloggers invited by Cherry Healey to meet the utterly inspiring Camila Batmanghelidjh and hear about the extraordinary work of Kids Company.
From freezing my touche off in Scandinavia to snorkelling in the Caribbean in February, courtesy of Carnival Cruises (you can watch my vlog about it here); one of the definite highlights for me was discovering Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
And, never one to shy away from controversy, I blogged my feelings about the senseless slaughter of a giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo.
In March, it was off to France for work, first Avignon and then Lyon, and a chance to savour the best that these two wonderful cities have to offer. I also wondered why people still insist on saying ‘fell pregnant.’ ARGH.
And in April I finally got to visit the phenomenal city of Seattle and explore stunning Washington State. On my return in May I met Jamie Oliver in my capacity as a Royal Mum; and I also spent the maddest weekend of my life, possibly, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I tried my hand (s) at kayaking and got to see the FABULOUS Cher in concert. I was also delighted to be named a finalist in the Best Travel Blog category in the Brit Mums awards.
I spent 24 hours in Venice for work in June, which sounds exactly as glamorous as it was, and also claimed back PPI and won (if you haven’t done this yet please make it your No 1 New Year’s resolution); I also had my heart in my mouth as my son went on his first trip abroad with a friend.
July was INSANE. I took my mum to Dublin for a few days before joining the amazing Norwegian Getaway for a Caribbean cruise (I know, I know), including the chance to visit the fabulous two-islands-in-one of St Martin and Sint Maarten (#sorrynotsorry).
By contrast August was relatively quiet as I was getting ready for the biggest trip of the year so far: Vietnam and Cambodia. This was a seminal journey for me in more ways than one, not just because it was the chance to achieve a lifelong ambition to visit Cambodia; but also because of the experiences we shared during our trip. From the madness of Hanoi to climbing the ancient temple at Angkor Wat, being blessed by monks, and meeting the Cambodian people, it was a life-changing, life affirming adventure in every sense.
How do you come down from something like that? Fortunately I didn’t have to, because the following month it was off to Japan with Harriet, where we discovered the wonders of Tokyo, rode the bullet train, saw the incredible Japanese autumn colours and tried on kimonos while sailing round the Japanese islands on Diamond Princess. I still can’t believe we saw (and ate) everything we did. I’d go back tomorrow, because I fell in love completely with Japan, the culture, the people, the food (particularly the pork buns) and the spectacular scenery.
And then during the first week of November it was the chance to experience Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, and to try skydiving at sea, still one of the best and most exhilarating things I’ve done on a ship. I also revealed why Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen is now my mantra.
December saw a big change for my family as we moved house just before Christmas; so I’m blogging this post from our new home, in front of our real coal fire. We are incredibly lucky and that’s why I’ve decided to sponsor a room at Centrepoint in 2015.
And I was delighted when The Mum Blog was named a Cision Top 10 Family Travel Blog for 2014.
So there you are: My 2014 review of the year. It’s been an extraordinary 12 months and as ever, travel and blogging has been a big part of that. There have been more laughs, shrieks, glasses of Champagne and airport lounges than I ever thought possible. 2015, you have a lot to live up to.
Happy New Year and see you next year 🙂